Having an agenda is essential in ensuring a sales meeting is efficient and productive. Learn from the seven tips in this post to help you have successful meetings every time.
7 Tips to Make Every Sales Meeting a Success
Why an Effective Sales Meeting Is Important
One of the skills a sales manager should have is handling a sales meeting. Here’s why: half of all sales meetings are a waste of time. From my experience, that seems dauntingly accurate and problematic.
It can mean missing a sales opportunity, such as meeting weekly sales quotas, and may not count toward sales team goals. Most of all, there are better ways to spend that precious time, such as conducting sales training.
Here are seven ways to make meetings worth the time you spend on them. If you want to see a change in your meetings, keep these tips in your portfolio. Post them on the door of your conference room and in your meeting areas for everyone to see.
Tips on How to Have Effective Sales Meetings
How do you have productive meetings that leave your attendees inspired and engaged? Here are seven tips:
1. Determine if the Sales Team Meeting Is Necessary to Focus on What’s Essential
Before you schedule a meeting, ask yourself if it is necessary. Can you easily convey the sales meeting agenda through an email or memo?
Look at how much it will cost you in employee time. Really, add it up. Then, ask yourself if the meeting will be a good use of your sales staff’s time.
Finally, determine who needs to be at the meeting. Don’t waste an employee’s time if you don’t need them to be there in the first place.
2. Stick to an Agenda to Set Expectations
One of the strategies for having an effective sales meeting is to always have an agenda. Make sure all participating sales reps have a copy of it so they have a clear roadmap. Each topic should also have an allotted amount of time for discussion.
Stick to it. If you can’t address it in that timeframe, schedule another time to resolve the issue. Then, you move onto the next topic or presentation.
3: Define a Clear Objective to Stay On Track
Having an agenda doesn’t always mean you have a clear objective. Know what you are hoping to accomplish by the end of the meeting. Make this clear from the beginning.
- Is it to launch a new product or service?
- Is it a national sales meeting or annual sales gathering?
- Are you introducing a new buyer or looking for sales leads?
- Is it about the sales forecast or improvement of the sales pipeline health?
- Are you or someone going to make a sales pitch?
- Are you evaluating your current sales process?
- Is your meeting actually sales training?
What Is Sales Pipeline? It is a visual representation of the buying process across different stages.
It can be as simple as announcing at the beginning of the meeting, “We have a half an hour to cover A, B, and C. At the end of this meeting, I’m hoping we have [state your expectation or goal].”
4. Start and End on Time to Avoid Wasting Working Hours
Another good way to handle meetings is to take the start time of your meetings seriously. If people aren’t there, start without them. It will prevent your meetings from starting later and later and wasting more time.
Be just as zealous to end on time as you are to start on time. Make salespeople aware when you have five or ten minutes left. This will set expectations and help to keep the meeting moving and on topic.
5. Focus on Topics That Create Dialogue to Increase Engagement
As a sales leader, make sure your meeting content encourages back-and-forth communication. It is what gets the creative juices flowing and creates value. It is what sales teams perceive as—and what ultimately is—a productive sales meeting.
If you’re looking to convey information, save it for an email. Don’t waste a team member’s time and enthusiasm.
6. Take Away the Chairs to Stick to Start-End Times
Bring more energy into your meetings by getting rid of the chairs—seriously. It will also help you to stick to an agenda, including ending on time.
Nobody wants to stand for an hour when you told them they were going to stand for only 15 minutes. If you’re having a board of directors meeting though, you may want to reconsider this point.
7. Clear the Next Steps to Achieve a Successful Sales Meeting
At the end of your meeting, make sure everyone is clear on the next steps and action items. See to it team members know what items they are responsible for. It will ensure that conversation will translate into action.
Don’t forget to download, save, or share this handy infographic for reference:
These tips on how to have a sales meeting can help save valuable corporate time for you and your employees. They can also create a more energized and collaborative team.
For additional tips on ways to be more effective, check out our “15 Timewasters of Inside Sales and Lead Generation” whitepaper.
Do you have other tips on how to keep a meeting short and interesting? Leave a note in the comments section below.
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Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on March 4, 2013, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.